Western Addition

Construction underway on the new and expanded Geary Boulevard in 1960.


A geologist would call the block of Fillmore Street between Post and Sutter a “triple junction.” It’s one of those three-way collisions where a swanky part of town crashes into a seedy one, while a completely different quarter sideswipes both of them. In 1974, my cousin Jonathan and I were house-sitting four blocks away, at Pine and Buchanan, in a majestic, decaying Victorian with a big psychedelic mandala painted in an alcove.

We didn’t know it at the time, but our building was a weird precursor to the Summer of Love. In 1965, that stretch of Pine Street had been a pre-Haight hippie scene, with half a dozen houses filled with longhairs and dealers. The downstairs unit had been home to the legendary hippie newspaper the Oracle. Across the street, at 2111 Pine, a rooming house once stood; some of the itinerant musicians there played in a vanished after-hours jazz club three blocks away called Bop City.

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